The Challenge of Under-Nutrition and Obesity: Addressing the Double Burden Malnutrition Issue in Nigeria

Since the 2000s, academic literature has emerged concerning the nutrition transition in Sub- Saharan Africa. This term designates the change in nutrition habits, from cereal and fiber-rich diets, to more sugar, salty, fat, and animal-sourced foods. This “new problem”, resulting in high rates of obesity and associated chronic diseases, goes hand in hand with an “older problem” : undernutrition. Both represent the double-burden malnutrition. Nigeria is clearly subject to the double burden of malnutrition, featuring an important rise in obesity, while not reaching satisfactory results for undernutrition reduction. Both problems share common drivers which are socioeconomic status, environmental and biological drivers. Solutions exist to face both problems simultaneously, to reduce malnutrition effects in Nigeria. The aim of this paper is to introduce the double burden malnutrition, understand how it applies to Nigeria, and then recommend pathways to address both problems.

By: Milo Infuso

Published on April 1st, 2021


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